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24 February 2011

Learning Curve

Ever have a new and difficult task staring you in the face?  You know...one of those tasks that's like a huge monolith looming over you...it stresses you out* and brings out your inner procrastinator, even though you know you can conquer it.  I had a task like that this past week...

Of course, I did everything I could think of to prepare.  I researched for hours - tried to find as many tips and helpful hints as possible, read article after article, studied photo after photo, scaled drawings, made templates...and in the end, completed the task with decent results (though I still felt I fell a little short, it's the perfectionist in me!).  Here's the end result:

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Yep...it's a car, an SUV to be more exact, made out of cake and ENTIRELY edible.  Obviously, there's room for improvement, but as I quickly found out, the learning curve for these things is steep, steeper than even my hours of pre-planning could overcome, so I'm proud of my first ever effort.  One of these days, if I don't forget, I'll post the photos I took while this cake progressed from rectangular slabs to finished product...it's rather interesting to see.  I might even share some helpful hints if any of you out there want to conquer your own car cake monolith! 

*I'd like to thank all those who had to endure my stressed out state this past week.  I appreciate your patience with me!  Next time it won't be so bad...promise.  Well, hopefully!

23 February 2011

3 C's

It's been a fun, variety-filled, and stressful week in my kitchen.  We'll talk about Part I today - the fun, variety-filled part.  Come back tomorrow for Part 2 - the stressful (but still fun!) part.  Truth of the matter is, I'm just not ready to re-hash Part 2 and besides, I want to see if you're curious enough to come back for two posts in as many days!

C #1 - a Cake

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Of course it's a cake...did you really expect any less?  This cake was for a baby shower, and was designed loosely around the invitations.  With it being for a baby girl, I had to include pink ribbon roses.  And no, the bottom tier is not supposed to look like a cow's hide...the black fondant pieces are actually embossed with a floral/damask motif...though unfortunately it's somewhat hard to see in the photo.

C #2 - a Cookie

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A giant sugar cookie decorated with vanilla bean buttercream.  This was actually an accompaniment to Part 2...don't forget to come back tomorrow to find out what it was. *wink wink*

C #3 - a Confection

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Cheesecake brownies with homemade raspberry sauce.  Ooo...they were so good!

See you tomorrow!


16 February 2011

Amore

Happy belated St. Valentine's Day! 

I hope you got to spend it with someone you love and if not, they should have at least sent you chocolate, flowers, and jewelry.  (I'm just kidding!  You didn't really think I was serious about that last part, did you?)

This past week was a slow one in the kitchen, but I do still have a cake to share with you.  It even goes well with the theme of the past few days...right down to its pink strawberry buttercream filling!

*crickets chirping*

*couples kissing*

I know...you were expecting a picture of the pink strawberry buttercream, but I didn't take one, so you'll just have to trust me on this, okay?  I do have a picture of the cake though!

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And here's a close-up of some of the piping and brush embroidery work.

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Until next week, un milione di baci,




P.S.  If you want to try to translate the phrase above, here's a hint - it's the same language as the title.

09 February 2011

Peace Offering

It's snowing and blowing here again, with an emphasis on "blowing."  But I'm happy that we are finally getting to experience a little bit of winter, so I promise I won't protest too loudly.  However in exchange for my lack of complaining, I would ask that you not nit-pick about the lack of football cakes to I have to share with you. (Don't seem so surprised...I know some of you were hoping to see cake homage to our national football holiday, seeing as how it was celebrated this past Sunday.)

Do not despair though; I still have cakes to show you, just not football themed ones.  Let's consider it a peace offering, shall we?

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This cake was actually only about half my work; the other half was handled deftly by one of my best friends and staunchest supporters.  (He insisted on being a hands-on sous-chef since it was for a very important lady in his life.) I'd say he did an excellent job of carving the cake and piping the individual patches of colored buttercream, wouldn't you?

One of my wonderful nieces turned 16 this last week and I was pleased to get to make her birthday cake.  I opted to create a cake replica of her iPod Touch since it seems to almost be an extension of her these days. And of course, since she is family, I used the opportunity to try out not only a new cake flavor (graham cracker) but a new cake filling (milk chocolate truffle with marshmallows)...both of which were a success according to the party guests.

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I stuck with the electronic/technology theme for the third cake of the week.  It too was for one of my best friend's relatives. (Side note: this is a different best friend from the above mentioned one.  Confused yet?)  As it turns out her uncle is an engineer, so of course I had to build him a circuit board.  I even included an ASCII character pattern on the front of the cake to help remind him of the good old days.

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This last cake was for a surprise birthday party.  And according to the birthday boy, it was the "best cake ever!" (I always enjoy getting to contribute a happy memory to someone's event...it is by far one of the best things about this hobby of mine.)  The cars and monster truck were not edible, but I imagine he will get more use from them than if they had been...

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02 February 2011

Brrr...

Inclement Weather Day!

Doesn't really have the same ring to it as "Snow Day!" does it?  Unfortunately, all we really got in my neck of the woods was lots of wind and cold with just the tiniest amount of snow. Though the -28°F wind chills did earn me a day off from my full-time job, so it isn't all bad news.

I hope you are reading this somewhere warm; perhaps curled up in front of a fire with a mug of hot cider.  But if not, maybe a few spring flowers and a butterfly will at least bring you warm thoughts...

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You say that didn't work?  Then perhaps a brightly colored children's cake can bring you balmy weather notions.  After all, are we not all ready to see some bright sunshine, green grass, and perfectly pink flowers?

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Still not enough?  Well, here's one last attempt to bring some sunshine and roses to your cold winter day.

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The wind chill is up to -21°F! Warmer weather must be on its way.  Stay warm everyone!